Didot Elder is the first revival of a typeface by Pierre Didot the Elder, whose family has long been recognized for many generations as France’s leading publisher, printer, and punchcutter, with many notable patrons, including the French Monarchy. With its elegant and high-contrast forms Didot Elder perfectly reflects neoclassical principles, while presenting unique features drawn with an unprecedented sharpness.
Admired for the impeccable quality of their publications, the Didots are also celebrated for the design of a typeface bearing their name, which was exclusively used on their press. The Didot typeface is known to have an exclusively vertical axis, strong strokes contrast, and hairline serifs with no bracketing, as were its variants, until François Rappo developed Didot Elder based on a specimen published in 1819. Rappo’s version presents asymmetrical serifs, with regular and bracket-serif style happening simultaneously on certain letters and arrow-like serifs, on the letters “C,” “G,” “S,” and “s,” which were developed with the aim of accomplishing a very precise and authentic revival of the specimen.